Michael Horton. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2002. 256 pp. $19.99. ISBN 0801012341. www.bakerbooks.com
Consider Michael Horton’s book for a refreshing look at preaching and the sacraments. In Part 1 (of three), “Faith Comes by Hearing: The Ministry of the Word,” Horton reminds us that the Holy Spirit has promised to work through the faithful preaching of God’s Word. If we truly embrace that promise we will no longer see the need for the newest gimmick to try and convince others to listen, neither will we measure success based on the subjective experience of those gathered. Horton is quick to add that this does not give preachers permission to sport a nonchalant attitude toward preaching—just the opposite. Knowing that God speaks through their preaching, pastors ought to be that much more careful in both their preparation and delivery.
In Part 2, “Signs and Seals of the Covenant: The Ministry of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper,” Horton provides a brief refresher on the theology, significance, and power of the sacraments. Part 3, “Our Reasonable Service: Getting Involved in the Drama,” gets even more practical as Horton addresses some of the pressing issues of our day, briefly going through the typical parts of the worship service, followed by a consideration of the place of style and role of the media, the need to reclaim the Sabbath, the importance of catechism, and the relationship between worship and evangelism. Covering a lot of ground, this book is a good appetizer to further study on particular worship related topics.